As Android has continued to grow in features over the years, so has its bloat. There was a time when Android smartphones could give you decent performance with just 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage. Those days are long gone though, and today you’d need 2GB RAM and 16GB of storage for a smartphone to be serviceable.
So why should anyone get psyched over the Cherry Mobile Flare P3 Plus when it only has 1GB RAM and 8GB of storage, a combination of specs that would make it a glorified feature phone? For one thing, it runs the Go edition of Android Oreo, a lighter version that loses a lot of the bloat and has been optimized for smartphones with little RAM and storage. Another thing is that it’s gorgeous for its price.
Cherry Mobile was kind enough to send over a review unit so I can see just how well this can perform as a daily driver. What’s my verdict after a few days? Find out in my full review of the Flare P3 Plus.
Cherry Mobile Flare P3 Plus Specs
|Resolution||720 x 1440 resolution, 268ppi|
|PLATFORM||OS||Android Oreo Go Edition|
|CPU||32-bit 1.3GHz quad core Cortex-A7|
|GPU||Mali 400 MP2|
|MEMORY||Card slot||Yes, Up to 64GB|
|- LED flash|
|- fixed focus|
|CONNECTIVITY||Network||3G HSPA+, 2G EDGE and GPRS|
|GPS||Yes, with A-GPS|
|USB||Micro USB 2.0|
|MISC||Sensors||Fingerprint Unlock, Proximity, Ambient Light, Accelerometer|
What’s in the Box?
The Flare P3 Plus comes in a simple and compact slide-out box. Inside, you’ll find the following:
- Headset with in-line mic
- Wall charger, 1A output
- micro USB to USB data and charging cable
- User manual
- Quick start guide
Build Quality and Design
Thanks to its 18:9 screen and relatively slim bezels, the Flare P3 Plus is a surprisingly sleek-looking device, especially when you consider its sub-Php5k price point. The red variant that was provided as my review unit has an eye-catching candy gloss finish, although I much prefer the midnight blue version because it was understatedly cool.
Both variants though are able to give most folks the impression that it’s a more expensive phone than it really is, especially when combined with the gorgeous display. I would often challenge friends to guess how much the Flare P3 Plus was based solely on its looks. Their unbiased guesses fell somewhere in between Php10K to Php17K, which is really saying something about the design.
The 6 inch HD+ screen is easily one of the best features of the Cherry Mobile Flare P3 Plus. It’s not going to break any records, but it’s large enough that you don’t have to strain to read the text from afar. The 18:9 aspect ratio also allows you to fit more screen into a smartphone’s vertical body, so it’s also easier to handle despite its size. There’s also no denying that it gives the phone a more premium appeal that ties in nicely with the rest of the design.
Software and UI
Another area the Flare P3 Plus shines is its software. Optimized for smartphones with low RAM and storage, the Go Edition of Android Oreo benefits from more storage out of the box. Of course, it still has limited storage, but thanks to Go Edition of Google’s popular apps, not to mention Lite versions of apps like Facebook, Twitter, Messenger, and Camera 360, it becomes easier to survive with.
Benchmarks and Performance
Being a sub-Php5K smartphone, you can’t really expect much from the Flare P3 Plus and its underwhelming MediaTek MT6580 SoC. Driven by a meager 1.3GHz quad core Cortex A7 processor and Mali 400 GPU, delivers enough performance for most apps. However, don’t expect a buttery smooth experience. Here are a few benchmark scores from Antutu and Vellamo:
Unfortunately, the Flare P3 Plus only supports up to 3G HSPA+, meaning no 4G LTE connectivity. This might be a bit of a disappointment, but not surprising considering how affordable the phone is. If you want fast connectivity, you’ll need to be tethered to a WiFi hotspot.
On paper, the 13mp resolution of the rear camera would be pretty decent. However, in real life, it’s underwhelming and slow to focus. It can take decent shots, especially in good lighting, but it also has a slow shutter that can mean blurred shots if you can’t keep your hands steady. If anything, the color accuracy is fairly good. However, to be honest, it’s hard to expect much more at this price point.
With an aging GPU and limited RAM and storage, the Flare P3 Plus is far from a gaming phone. It was unable to run Antutu’s 3D test, and on GFXBench’s T-Rex test, it was more like a slideshow than a gaming benchmark. If you’re a Candy Crusher or Temple Runner, you should be fine, but don’t get your hopes up if you want to play more visually demanding games.
Thanks to a great screen for its price range, the Flare P3 Plus is already halfway to being an awesome portable multimedia device. Its 18:9 aspect ratio might not make it the best fit for most videos as those are often shot in 16:9, but most movies should be able to take advantage of the ultra-wide screen.
Its loudspeakers aren’t anything special though. It isn’t especially bad, but it isn’t especially good either. You’re getting a fairly standard set of loudspeakers you would expect from any smartphone and you’ll most likely be using a pair of headphones when listening to anything worthwhile from your multimedia library.
The 3,000mAh battery that the Flare P3 Plus isn’t especially impressive these days. However, thanks to Android Go, it’s pretty good at conserving its resources. I used it as my main driver for a week, with WiFi and data constantly on. Since there’s WiFi at work, I only had to connect to mobile data on the drive to-and-from work. I’m not a heavy gamer and it’s not like the Flare P3 Plus was made for games. However, I did spend a lot of time on Facebook or browsing news feeds, not to mention watching a video or two when I got back home from work.
The Flare P3 Plus lasted about 13 hours of continuous use, which is great considering my usage habits. Most folks spend 9 hours at work then 2 to 4 hours in commute, so the phone should be able to last at least that long.
So Should You Buy the Cherry Mobile Flare P3 Plus?
While there’s no shortage of options when it comes to phones under Php5k, the Cherry Mobile Flare 3 Plus has a few major features going for it. There aren’t a lot of smartphones under Php5k with a fingerprint scanner and it’s display is one of the best in its price range, not to mention its design. You’ll have friends easily mistaking it for a phone that’s 3 times more expensive than it really is.
Of course, its 1GB/8GB RAM and ROM configuration is what it is and Android Oreo Go can only go so far to offset it. Still, for the price, it’s definitely a budget phone that overdelivers.